The ocean is inextricably connected with humans, which covers approximately 70.8 % of Earth and supplies oxygen around the planet Earth. Marine environment is a rich source of food, minerals, and medicinal commodities. The market value of marine resources and related industries is ~US$3 trillion/annum, accounting for ~5% of global GDP, and a source of livelihoods of more than 3 billion people. At the same time, various anthropogenic activities continuously contaminate both marine and fresh water bodies, hence, deteriorating environmental and human health.
Microalgae is an effective and economical way of dealing with aquatic pollution. Microalgae and bacteria are living together after the great oxygenation event that took place 2150 million years ago and evolved to develop an efficient mutualism for their survival and remediation of polluted environments through nutrient exchange, extracellular polymer secretion, signal transduction regulation, community structure changes, horizontal gene transfer. The algal microbiome is closely related to the health of the ocean, and together they build a community of shared future. Therefore, in-depth understanding of the inter-algal microbial interaction mechanism and analysis of the interaction between algae and bacteria in the process of remediation of polluted water is not only of great scientific significance, but also has important practical significance for building a harmonious and healthy marine ecological environment.
Recently, Trends in Microbiology published an article titled “Synergy between microalgae and microbiome in polluted waters” by SCBE group (doi.org/10.1016/j.tim.2022.06.004). This paper reviews the latest progress in algal-microbiome research in polluted water environments. It points out that, like the human microbiome, the union of microalgae and related microbiomes, can be thought of as an independent life form. When exposed to polluted environments, algal symbionts regulate life processes at different levels, including metabolism, signal transduction, transcription, population, and genome, and alter community structure or genome composition to achieve short- and medium-term acclimation or long-term adaptation. The article also proposes the concept of "PollutantBiome" which help to understand microalgae-microbiome interactions and development of beneficial microbial synthetic communities for pollutant remediation. Finally, the article looks forward to the prospect that the artificially designed and delicate microalgae-microbiome symbionts are expected to become Aladdin's magic lamp for treating polluted oceans, serving the health of water ecosystems, and ultimately benefiting human society and realizing the sustainable development of human beings and the ocean.
Postdoctoral fellows Dr. Noreen Ashraf and Dr. Fiaz Ahmad are the first authors. The research was funded by the Intergovernmental Project of National Key R&D Program of China, the China Postdoctoral Science Foundation, the Hainan Free Trade Port Talent Network, Major State Basic Research Development Program and the Project of State Key Laboratory of Marine Resource Utilization in South China Sea.
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